Hundreds have taken to the streets of New Delhi to protest the handling of the case of a missing girl. The five-year-old was held in captivity, raped and tortured for two days earlier in the week.
Activists said a young rape victim's parents had asked for help after their daughter went missing on Monday, but that police refused to register the case. The five-year-old girl was found Wednesday by neighbors who heard her crying in a room of the same building where she and her family live.
"The police did nothing;" said Ranjana Kumari, a women's rights activist and social scientist. "They did not register a complaint, the first step before they can begin investigations. This heinous crime could have been prevented if police had begun investigations promptly."
The victim was found alone, locked into a room. She is now in serious condition in a New Delhi hospital, having suffered internal injuries, as well as cuts and bites to her face and torso, according to D.K. Sharma, the medical superintendent for the government-run hospital in the Indian capital.
She was raped and tortured while being held captive for more than 40 hours.
The 24-year-old man who lived in the room where she was found was arrested on Saturday in the city of Muzaffarpur in Bihar State. He was flown to New Delhi, and a magistrate has ordered him be held in police custody.
Demands for better policing
Police have not responded to the accusations, but Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Saturday that an inquiry had been ordered into the handling of the case.
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also chimed in on the crime. He called the police behavior "completely unacceptable" and told Delhi authorities of "the need for the strictest possible action to be taken against the erring officials," the prime minister's office said in a statement.
The protests over the case started on Friday and grew more intense when a video showing footage of a policeman slapping a female protester surfaced, alongside reports that investigators had offered the victim's family 2,000 rupees ($37) not to file a case.
This week's case came to light just months after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus sparked outrage across India. The student later died of her injuries. Since then, the issue of violence against women has remained center stage.
tm/slk (AP, Reuters)